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Thursday, January 19, 2006

shooing is not wooing

Two news reports from diametrically opposite corners of the country make for sad reading. It seems that instead of wooing investors, the locals are bent upon throwing spanners in the works and shoo away those interested in investing. One report is from Kalinga Nagar, Orissa where a proposed steel plant is going to be consigned to the back burners because the locals do not see eye to eye with the Government. A private company was allotted land by the Government and the boundary wall was also erected but when the bhoomi puja for the buildings was to be done, the tribals objected and attacked the authorities. The company defaulted on payment of installment and the Government cancelled the allotment.

Then, there was the recent incidence of violence in which more than a dozen lost their lives – the violence erupted when work was to be started on constructing the boundary wall for a steel plant

Another report talks about M/S Ford of USA who wanted to invest $500 million in a ski village in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Here again, locals have raised objections that setting up such a village will destroy the environment and pollute the sacred surroundings including the holy rivers. Hence, the Yankees are not welcome. When it comes to West Bengal, labor unrest and agitations are common happenings – investors have to accept that there will be disruptions. May not be of their own making but disruptions all the same – for example, when the roads are suddenly blocked to protest the accidental death of a child or an elderly person or when the trains are stopped to register protest against late running or some such incidents. Investors who can accommodate sudden and unpredictable work stoppages in their scheme of things are welcome to set up tents. Bihar is the kidnapper’s paradise – apparently, they scout the roads for victims. Therefore, investors have to be prepared to shell out ransom money if planning to target Bihar.

All in all, while one section of society wants to see dollars pour into our economy, another section opposes it tooth and nail.


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